The physical features of Saharanpur district have been most conducive to human habitation. Archaeological surveys have provided evidence of the existence of many settlements over the ages. Excavations have been carried out in different parts of the district, such as Ambakheri, Bargaon, Hulas, Bahadarabad, and Naseerpur. On the basis of artifacts discovered during these excavations, human habitation can be traced as far back as 2000 B.C. Traces of the Indus Valley civilization and even earlier have also been found; archaeologically, Ambakheri, Bargaon, Naseerpur and Hulas were centres of Harappan civilisation.
The history of the region can be traced from the days of the Indo-Aryans. In 1834, during the excavation for Eastern Yamuna Canal, Buddhist artifacts were found at Behat, 18 miles away from the city . However, a more exact history, the system of administration of the local kings, and the lifestyle of the people will become known only with further exploration. The name of the place has evolved over the ages.
PRE HISTORIC PERIOD:As a result of Archaeological survey, the remains of various cultures have been excavated and found. On the basis of material available from the survey, the oldest date of Saharanpur can be determined 2000 B. C. and near about . On the basis of Mridbhands, axes and other articles excavated from Ambakheri, Badgaon, Hulas, Bahadrabad and Nasirpur etc. It can be affirmed that, in this district, there are founded remains of Pre- Indus civilization, Indus Civilization, redden shaded Mridbhand Culture, Copper cultture and pointed carpeted Carpeted with dust. Dhusar Mridbhand culture. This makes it obvious that there was habitation in Saharanpur District even before Indus Valley civilization. After the advent of Aryans, There is available a chronological history of this district. It is an altogether different matter that till date there is unavailability of specific information concerning local monarchs, related to different dynasties, and their administrative set up. .
REMAINS OF INDUS VALLEY:In Bahadarabad, close to Kankhal(Brahmins happened to be the ministers of the kings and used to act as the purohits in several yajnas. ) a renowned city of antiquity, there have been found, in the basin of Ganga, Brown colored earthen pots which appear to be copper shaded. They are said to be related with Indus Valley. Besides this the Mridbhands similar to those of the Harappan culuture have been found in Ambakheri , Badgoan, Nasirpur and Hulas. The Remains of Indus civilization , having been found at Ropar, it was conjectured that Indus civilization was wide speared throughout Northern India. Now, as a result of its remains being traced out at different places of Saharanpur District , it is almost ascertained that Indus civilization was spread from the Indus to the Ganga. .
VEDIC PERIOD :Having migarted from Sapta Saindhav Pradesh (HEPTAPOMATIC REGION) and crossing the Yamuna, the Aryans planted their first colony at Ushinagar , which was no other than Saharanpur . They had to fight not only the aborigines of this place, but there were reciprocal Aryan tribal battles also . Due to these battles also , several eminent leaders emerged, and there were formed larger groups and categories . The mass was Brahmans under the doming influence of the Brahmins. That is why the intermediate region fo the Ganga and Yamuna came to be known as Brahanarshi Desh SAPTA SAROVAR where the Brahmarshis used to live. The Aryans had discovered this region after the Punjab. It is obvious that Ganga and Yamuna find their mention once only in the Rigveda. An account of the conflict between Aryans and aborigines of this region is found in the Regveda. Chief among these aborigines were Drawid, Kinner, Dasa and Dasyns. The war between Shambar, the Dasa monarch and Divodasa, the Aryans monarch continued till forty years. Shambar was killed as a result of an Aryans alliance with Indra. The Kingdom of Shambar went under the region of Divodasa. Sudas, the son of Divodas, captured the Paurav kingdom of Hastinapur also Samvaran, the King thereof, escaped towards the Sapta Saindhava(Punjab) . thus the Aryavatra, including Saharanpur was under his monarchy. After sometime, Samvarana won back his province, conquered by Sudas. The region from Saraswati to Ganga come to be known Kanrava Pradesh, after the name of his son Kurn. The Kuru Jangala Pradesh, in which there was Saharanpur also, became a part of Kuru state. Hastinapur was the capital of Kuru State. After Kuru, his son Shantana became the monarch of Kuru Jangala Pradesh. Thereafter Vichitravirya, t hen Pandu and after that Dhritarashtra ascended the throne. During their reign there occurred the war between Kauravas and Pandavas, which is famous as the war of Mahabharata.
After the Mahabharata war, Emperor Yudhishthira became the monarch of Kuru Jangala Pradesh. After Lord Krishna's ascension to His Holy Abode, Yudhishthira lost heart. Having entrusted Parikshit, the son of Abhimanyu, with crown and scepter, he ascended the Himalayas via Dev-Van (present Deoband) , Kankhal and Mayapur(Haridwaar) . After Parikshit, the reins of Kuru Pradesh were held by Janmejaya, (Parikshit's son) . Thereafter the Kuru thorne was occupied chrono- logically by Shatanik, Ashvamedhaja, AsimKrishna and his son Nemichakra (Nichaksha) . During his region Hastinapur, the capital city was sub- merged by Gangetic innudation and the monarch of Kaurava clan migrat- ed towards Kaushambhi, a township of Vatsadesha, and settled there simultaneously, the Vagas captured the Kuru Pradesh. This event is of 9th or 10th century B. C.
Saharanpur remained under Kuru Pradesh, but the Mahajanapadas of 6th century B. C. could not maintain their status quo for long. During the age of Gautam Buddha Koshala state was expanded from Himalayas to Kashi and it remained under Prasenajit, the monarch Buddha made a journey to Hastinapur , After sometimes when this region again came under Kuru federal Kingdom, it was divided into Yandheya, Ushinar and Srughna Janpadas.
"NANDA REGIME" there is not available any specific proof oriented knowledge concerning the history of Saharanpur till the Regime of Mahapadmananda. During the reign of Mahapadmananda this sole monarchy of Magadha was expanded from Northern Bihar to the Yamuna river. Then a larger part of Saharanpur District was under Srughna Janapada. it was still and independent, not under subordination of Magadha.
The SHAKUMBHARI DEVI TEMPLE of Saharanpur Janapada was an eminent pilgrimage spot of Srughna Janapada. Brihadhatta(Behat) , near Shakumbhari was an important town. This township was located at a distance of one Yojana from Shakumbhari temple and was on the highway that led to the North of the Kuru Pradesh.
MAURYA EMPIRE(320 B. C-184 B. C. ) Having borne the brunt of defeat for the first time from Nanda, Chandragupta and Acharya Chanakya managed to reach Shakumbhari area, Kaushambi, Kampilya, Shukra Kshetra, Govinashan, Shivalik and Mayapuri. Seating themselves here, they organized an army to defeat Nanda; and having arrived at Himavat Kuta, Chanakya entered into a treaty with Parvataka, and consequently they defeated Nanda. Thus, Srughna Janapada was also assimilated to the Maurya Empire and Saharanpur became a part of the Maurya Empire. This is ascertained by the Ashokan grapholith also. Saharanpur remained under this regime till the administrative tenure of Brihadratha, the last ruler of the Maurya Empire. Besides, an Ashokan Pillar was excavated from Topari of Saharanpur (Khiderabad) ; the pillar was taken to Delhi by Feroze Shah Tughlaq, and it is still in Feroze Shah Kotla.
The route leading Megasthenese to India passed through Saharanpur. The Greek traveller reached Patlipur via Gandhar, Taxila, Indus, Hydaspes (Jhelum) , Satluj, Ravi, Yamuna and Hastinapur. Haridwaar (Mayapur) and Behat were the renowned cities of that time. Behat was next to Mayapur in importance, because it was an important Buddhist center,
In 1834 Captain Kotalain, while leading the digging of Yamuna Canal, led an excavation in Behat also, where about 17 feet below the present terrestrial level, there were found one statue of Buddha, and some coins of Indo Scythian period.
Besides there were in existence some other old and renowned townships of Deoband, Nakur and Sarsava claiming their existence in the Mahabharata age. The Pandavas passed their period of Silvan exile. it is famed that Nakul habilitated the township of Nakur.
SHUNG DYNASTY(184 B. C. -72 B. C. ) : The Shung Dynasty reigned after the Mauryan era. In accordance with the Puranas and evidences available, their regime was unto 112 years. During this period several smaller Republics were established in India. For sometime, the existence of even Saharanpur was under fluctuation on account of Greek invasions in India. During the regime of Pushyamitra in 155 B. C.
Milind invaded this region but himself was defeated at Kalosindhu near Gwalior, by Vasumitra. The historians are not unanimous about the imperial expansion of Milinda. If it is agreed upon that, after the defeat of Milind Panchal Pradesh (up to the territory of numis- matic availablity) remained to exist, it is established that Saharanpur was a part of the Kingdom of Milinda.
If Buddhists writings are taken as evidence(in which there is a mention of mass slaughter of the Buddhists by Pushyamitra) , then it is indisputable that Saharanpur must have been under the Shunga regime, at least in the period of Pushyamitra Shunga.
YAUDHEYA GANARAJYA(1st century B. c. -4th A.D.) :The power of Shunga Empire, having suffered invading India intermittently. The death Knell of the Greek regime had been sounded in the region of Saharanpur, as the Yaudheyan coins of 1st century B. C. have been found at Behat of Saharanpur District.
Rapson and Vincent Smith also are of the same opinion. The Yaudheya regime ended from Saharanpur, when Kanishka had claimed his right over the region from Panchala and Kaushala.
The coins of Huvishka also have been founded in plenty in Saharanpur. The might of Kushma dynasty, having suffered a decline, the Yaudheyas regained their right to rule this region. In the Prayag Stambh inscription of Samudragupta, the Gupt Emperor, the Yaudheyas have been enumerated among those people, who paid off types of taxes to the Gupt Emperor, followed all his commandments and bowed themselves in reverence before him.
KUNIND GANARAJYA(About 1st century B. C. to 4th century A.D.) : There is found a mention of Kunind Janapada contemporary to Yaudheyas. From the seals/coins of Kunind available from Saharanpur District, it is known that Kunind Janapada was expanded in the entire Northern Region between the Vyas and the Ganga. A major portion of Saharanpur came under this region.
GUPTA PERIOD:The present Saharanpur, though divided into Kunind and the Yaudheya Ganas till the regime of Samudragupta, was still under the Gupt Empire. In Shakumbhari and neighboring Shivalik hills and in several other places of Saharanpur District, there have been found the statutes of Gupta period and Silver coins. They reveal that in the first decade of 5th century, these Republics had ceased to exist, and Chandragupta second annexed this region to the mighty Gupt Empire.
By the time of Skandagupta this entire region remained under the Gupt administration. At that very time the township of Manglor was habited and the King Mangal Sen of Manglor got a fortress constructed. King Mangal Sen was a regent (Samant) of Gupt Kings.
HUN(440 A.D.) :Right since the period of SkandaGupta the power of the Imperial Guptas started to suffer a decline, and the Huns got themselves spread in the Gangetic Plains. About 475 A.D. Tormana, the Huna Chieftain became the Emperor of the Huna Empire. He captured Punjab, Mathura, Western Uttar Pradesh and some areas of central India. In 510-11 A.D. he suffered a defeat at the hands of Brahamgupt. . Saharanpur District was still under the Jurisdiction of the Hunas. In 515 A.D. Tormanis son Mihirkul emerged as his successor. In Gwalior, there have been found his coins and inscriptions, from which it is revealed that his Kingdom was expanded from Punjab to Central India.
Baladitya and Yashodharman, the ruler of Malva defeated him and ex- panded his territory up to Sialkot. Thus the Huna Empire came to and in Western U. P. and Punjab and Saharanpur came under Yashodharman, the ruler of Malwa, for sometime.
After Yashodharman, from 554 A.D. to the rise of Harshavardhana(606 A.D.) , Saharanpur District and a part of Northern Doaab was under the Maukhari Kingdom of Kannary
In this very time Srughna Janapada was established again in Saharanpur.
THE REGIME OF HARSHAVARDMAN(606 A.D. -647 A.D.) Parallel to the Maukharis of Kanauj, there emerged in Thaneshwar a new dynasty, where ruler Prabha- karvardhana was bestowed with the title of Param Bhattarak. Buhller says that the Kingdom of Prbhakarvardhan was limited up to Thaneshwar only
In views of Hieuntsang, acceptable to Cunningham also, the Kingdom of Prabhakar Vardhan included the states of Southern Punjab and Eastern Rajputana. This Kingdom was expanded up to 1200 miles
The present analysis makes it obvious that, at the time of Harsha's coronation the territories of the state of Thaneshwar mingled with the Huna Region in the North West, the Hills in the North, and the Maukhari states of Kannauj in the East. River Yamuna was the dividing line of their states. After the assosiation of Grahvarman Maukhari, Harsh became the ruler of Thaneshwer and Kannanj. Thus the entire Northern India came under his Jurisdiction. Hieuntsang, the chinese traveller visited India during Harsha's region. He has made a mention of Sul-lu-Kina(Srugna) in Harsha's Kingdom, whose Capital is deemed to be the present Sungaon. It was in a dilapidated condition. There is no mention of the King.
According to Hieuntsang, in Srughna, there were five Buddhist monasteries, which claimed more than a thousand Buddhist followers. Most of them were followers of the Hinayana sect and the followers of other Buddhist sects were very few in member . There were hundred temples of divinity and a large number of non Buddhist faith also resided there. 31. Hieuntsang traveled to Kannauj via the then renowned townships of Behat and Mayapur of this District.
In 647A.D. after the death of Harsha, the anarchy and disorder, that prevailed in the Uttarpatha is known from an account provided by Ma Toan Lin, a Chinese writer of 13th century.
According to him, after the demise of Harsha, Arjuna, his minister became the lord of the state. According to accounts furnished by minstrels, in 712 A. D, Pundaki and Saharanpur were inhabited by the Rajputs of Pundeer clan.
THE REGIME OF YASHOVARMAN(about 731-750 A. D) The period of 75 years from the fall of Arjuna to the advent of Yashovarman fails to provide any infor- mation about the history of Saharanpur. In the third decade of 8th century, There is a graphic account of the Digvijay of Yashovaram in the Prakrit poetry of Vakpati, a renowned poet. . Thus, it is known that once again, Saharanpur came under Yashovarman, the ruler of Kannaj.
About 740 A. D the Kashmir ruler Laitaditya started his march of victory and he reached Kannauj via Saharanpur region, and defeated their ruler Yashovarman. A plenty of Lalitaditya coins have been received form Banda district. This proves the invasion of Lalitaditya, and makes it known that, after the defeat of Yashvarman, Saharanpur remained under the administration of Lalitaditya of Kashmir.
AYUDDHA DYNASTY(760-794 A. D) About 760 AD when Kannanj came under the command of Ayuddha dynasty. There ruled three rulers, viz Vajrayuddha, Indrayuddha and Chakrayaddha. Their Kingdom was expanded up to the Yamuna. Hence Saharanpur remained under Ayuddha dynasty. Fajshekhara has termed Kannauj as the capital of Ayuddha dynasty had been accepted as the lord by Bhoja, Matsya, Madra, Kuru, Avanti, Yavan, Gandhar and Kirata Kings.
It is obvious that under Ayuddha dynasty, there were Thaneshwar, Mastsya and Panchala Desh described in the Brihatsamhita, and by virtue of being a part of the Madhyadesha, Saharanpur also remained under Ayuddha dynasty, but this could not continue for long.
GURJAR PRATIHAR DYNASTY (836AD- 1018AD) The 9th century A. D coins of Gurjar Pratihar King Bhojadev (Adivarsh) have been found in plenty in Saharanpur, Which ascertain that Saharanpur remained under Bhojadev.
The inscription (Harsha Samvat 276-882 A. D) received form Paheva located in East Punjab (Present Haryana) Proves that the Gurjar Pratihar Kingdom included the provinces up to Haryana in the North West. In the end of 10th century AD and the beginning of 11th century A. D those parts of Haryana of Devpal Rajyapal aministration that were coming down under the command of Pratihar dynasty since Bhoja, slipped out of their ruler's hold, but the entire Doaab was under Rajya Pal.
In 1018 A.D. when Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni invaded the Ganga Yamuna Doaab and trampled the area up to Kannauj, Saharanpur remained under the rule of the Gurjar Pratihar rulers of Kannauj even up to that time. Some part of Saharanpur came to be known as Gujrat.
After the invasion of Mahmud of Ghazni, there was a continuance of Muslim invasion over the central part. According to Tarikh-E-Subuktaghin in 1033 A.D. Ahmed Niyaltghin(the Governor of Punjab) planned to attack Banaras. All of a sudden, he had reached Banaras, having crossed the Ganges at Saharanpur, and following the Eastern bank track. At that time, Banaras was under the King Gang.
While returning, Niyalatghin, having plundered the Antarvedi, having plundered the cities of Antarvedi reached Lahore.
BHOJ PARMER (1010-1055): After the invasion of Niyalatghim, Northern Gangetic valley came under the control of Bhoj Parmars. It is not clear, when did it take place. But it comes to knowledge from Bhoja's Udaipur eulogy that his army had reached the Himalayan basin in the North of Kannauj. His Kingdom included North, North Eastern, entire Uttar Pradesh, leading through Gwalior and a part of Bihar. Hence in 1055 Saharanpur was under the control of Bhoja.
KALCHURI DYNASTY (1055-1089 A.D.) In order to set up a defence of his conquered territory, Bhoja had to wage intermittent battles upon Lakshmikarna Kalchuri, the son of Ganga Deva. Hence the Kashi region had slliped away from his hands. Afterwards, Lakshmi Karan, marching through Kannauj Kangra reigion situated in the basin of Keer (Himachal Pradesh). Thereafter, having slipped from the hands of his son Yamkarna, the region of Saharanpur and neighborhood, went into the control of Chandra Dev, the Gaharval ruler.
GAHARWAL RULERS (1089-1154): It is known from Basai inscription of Govind Chandra Gaharwal, that he had brought under his control Kashi, Kaushik (Kannauj), North Koshala, Indraprastha (Delhi) and the entire neighboring vicinities. Even then Saharanpur was known as Ushinar. CHAHMAN DYNASTY (1154-1192): When did the Saharanpur region slip away from the hands of Gaharwal dynasty into those of Chahman dynasty, cannot be affirmed as certain, yet this region was under subordination of Chahman dynasty, for it is written in the Delhi Shivalik Pillar inscription Topri (1164 A.D.) of 4th Vigrahraj Bisaldev(1150-1164), "defeated Tambar, the Tomer Raj, he was a regent (Samant) of Govind Chand Gaharwal."
After his defeat, east Punjab, some parts of Western Uttar Pradesh came under his control. During the second Battle of Tarain (1192) of PrithiviRaj Chahman, the territory of Chahman Kingdom were expanded from the Himalayas up to Vindhya region.
The Saharanpur region was called Ushinar still. From 1192 to 1526 Saharanpur was under the Muslims rulers. On the basis of folklore tradition, the concept was formed that Mohammed ibn Tughlaq nomenclatured Saharanpur on the name of Shah Haroon Chishti, the Sufi Saint, but this fact is not proved by the historians contenporary to Tughlak. Dr. Budh Prakash, in his book Maratha and Panipat vide article "Role Of Saharanpur" has determined the foundation date of Saharanpur by Muhammad Tughlaq as 1364, which is incorrect, for the death of Muhammad Tughlaq had taken place in 1351. It is a reality, that Akbar made Saharanpur Sircar under Delhi Province. The jagir of Saharanpur was bestowed upon Rana Saha Ran Veer Singh (Jain), who laid the foundation of Saharanpur.
In 1707 A.D. on the demise of Aurangzeb, the decline of the Mughal Empire began, and about a century(1707-1808) Saharanpur was under Sikh invasions. During this period, the Sikhs inhabited Saharanpur.
SAHARANPUR UNDER THE CONTROL OF BARHA SAYYEDS (1712-1739 A.D.) :The Reins of Saharanpur remained in the hands of Barah Sayyeds of Jansath from 1712 to 1739. In 1738 AD. Vazier Qamarabdin, accompanied by Ali Muhammad the Rohilla Chieftain, invaded Jansath, and, having defeated the Sayyeds, brought Jansath under his control. Thus, Saharanpur slipped away from the hands of the Sayyeds. In 1739 Delhi was invaded by Nadir Shah. After his departure, anarchy prevailed in the entire Doaab. Having taken its advantage, the Rohillas were in control of trans-Ganges region and the Gujars of Landhora became the masters of the region up to Jwalapur.
NAJIB-UD-DAULA-THE NAWAB OF SAHARANPUR (1748-1770 A.D.) :Emperor Muhammad Shah died in 1748, after which there followed a conflict between his Vazir Safdarjang and Ghazi-al-din, the army-Chief. Safdarjang sent an army under the command of Indra Giri Goswami, with a view to capturing Saharanpur, but, even before reaching Saharanpur, that ill fated army was defeated by Ghazi-u-din, helped by Rohilla Chieftains-Najaf Khan (Najeeb-Ud-Daula) had achieved Saharanpur along with the Jagir of Barah Sayyeds.
After 1754 A.D. Najeeb-ud-daula started living in Saharanpur and made Gaunsgarh his capital. In order to make his situated powerful, Najeeb-Ud-Daula entered into a friendship with Manohar Singh. In 1759 A.D. Najeeb-Ud-Deen issued a deed of Agreement of 550 villages to Raja Manohar Singh of Landhora. Thus the Rohillas and the Gujjars inhabitated Saharanpur en mass.
In 1757, Raghumath Rai and Malha Rao Holkar were in control of Najeeb-Ud-Daula's Jagir Saharanpur for a short while, but Raghunath Rai, having left Saharanpur for Punjab, regained it. Thus, the conflict between Najeeb and Marathas went on and came to end on 18 December 1788 with the arrest of Ghulam Qadir, the grandson of Najeeb-Ud-Deen who was defeated by Mahadaji Scindia, and Saharanpur came under the Maratha Kingdom.
The significant contribution of Ghulam Qadir to Saharanpur is Nawab Ganj locality and the Ahmedabadi fortress therein, which stands still before the Vijay Talkies.
MARATHA REGIME (1789-1803 A.D.): The death of Ghulam Qadir drew the last nail in the coffin of Rohilla Administration in Saharanpur. Saharanpur became the Northern most District of Maratha Kingdom. Ghani Bahadur Banda was appointed the first Maratha governor of Saharanpur.
During the Maratha Regime, the locality PIR of Saharanpur, the temple adjacent to the company garden and the Bhuteshwar Temple came into existence. The Bala Sundari Temple near Devi Kund at Deoband and the Temples at Gangaghat in Haridwaar, are supposed to have been built by Marathas.
During the reign of Shamsu'd-Din Iltutmish (1211-36), the third and greatest ruler of the Slave Dynasty, the region of present Saharanpur became a part of his Delhi Sultanate. At that time, most of this area was covered with forests and the ‘Paondhoi', 'Dhamola' and 'Ganda Nala’ (Kregi Nala) rivers flowed through marshlands. The climate was humid, and hence prone to malaria.
Muhammad bin Tughluq, the Sultan of Delhi (1325-1351), undertook a campaign in the northern Doab to crush the Shivalik Kings in 1340. According to local traditions, but not yet corroborated by contemporary literature, he learned of the presence of a Sufi saint on the banks of the Paondhoi river. After visiting the sage, he ordered that henceforth the place would be known as 'Shah-Harunpur', named after the Sufi Saint, Shah Harun Chishti The simple but well-preserved tomb of this saint is situated in the oldest quarter of the city between Mali Gate/Bazar Dinanath and Halwai Hatta.
Akbar was the first Mughal ruler to make Saharanpur an administrative hub. A governor was appointed and it was designated the 'Saharanpur-Sarkar', part of the Delhi province. At that time, Saharanpur was a small village and served as an army cantonment. The nearest settlements were Shekhpura and Malhipur. The Jagir of Saharanpur was granted to Raja Sah Ranveer Singh, who, according to one tradition, founded the present city. Saha Ran Veer Singh’s Saharanpur was a walled city, with four gates: the Sarai Gate, the Mali Gate, the Buria Gate, and the Lakhi Gate. The ruins of Sah Ranveer Singh’s fort can still be seen in the Chaudharian locality of Saharanpur. He also built a temple in Muhullah Chaundhariyan. The family of late Shri Jugmandar Das Jain, Special Magistrate First Class claimed to be the descendants of the Sah.
After the uprising failed and British retribution followed, social reconstruction started. During this period, the cultural and political history of Muslims began to revolve around Aligarh and Deoband and Maulana Nanautvi and Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, both proponents of legendary reformer Shah Waliullah's ideology for social and political rejuvenation, established a school in Deoband in 1867. It found popularity and recognition as the Darul Uloom. Its founders' mission was twofold:
The school played an important role in revolutionary activities aimed at turning out the British from India. The famous revolutionary, Maulana Mahmudul Hasan, was the first student of the Madrassa and later its senior professor. His student, companion and successor, Moulana Husain Ahmed Madani, was also a famous religious scholar and statesman highly respected by the Indian National Congress. Muslim scholars in Saharanpur were active supporters of this ideology and went on to establish their own theological seminary along identical lines; it is named as Mazahir-ul-uloom. Today, Saharanpur is well known for its spirit of inter-religious harmony.
Its grain market receives the bumper agricultural produce of the Doab region and the massive wholesale market (Anaaj Mandi), for grains and other agricultural produce, is located on Chilkana Road.
The timber market traditionally receives supplies from the extensive northern hilly forest regions to support the local wood carving cottage industry and other demands. The description of Saharanpur's economy is incomplete without mentioning the contribution of wooden handicrafts industry, which is the basis of livelihood for half of the population and source of recognition globally. Beautiful art and utilitarian woodwork objects are displayed and sold in the sprawling market from near Ambala Road up to Chilkana Road. The founding father of wooden handicraft industry in Saharanpur was Atta Hussain, an ancestor of the present S.M.Imam M.Ikram family, still active in this handicraft.
In the last few decades, the Punjabi Market and Kamboh Katehra market have become famous for their high volume of textile trade. Hosiery has become a significant cottage industry, supplying goods to Ludhiana market, other nearby cities and Uttarakhand’s markets.
Historically, the common householder's market is centred in the compact area around the landmark Jama Masjid. Within a radius of less than half a kilometer around it, a network of narrow roads is lined with groups of shops selling practically all the commodities, right from jewellery to groceries.
Modern show rooms, retail outlets of upper end branded goods and branches of several major banks are located in the up scale Court Road market, near the city’s Civil Court and the Collectorate offices. However, the city does not boast yet of any ultra modern Shopping Malls, catering to the tastes of high-fashion sophisticated buyers.
A fascinating spectacle is the weekly Mangal Bazar (Tuesday Market) that springs up on the long road of popular Nehru Market and around, when the city's shops are closed for the weekly holiday; it is literally an ‘open air mall’ of the poor. Every thinkable item of household needs, tools needed for various trades, simple appliances and their parts are available; the quality and price are aimed at the lower end customers. The crowd that throngs this market has to be seen to be believed.
A multinational cigarette manufacturing company, the Indian Tobacco Company (ITC Limited ), is located in Saharanpur.
Star Paper Mill, Sugar Mill, Hardboard Mill, Textile Mill and Wood-seasoning Mill are other important industrial enterprises located in the city.
Bharat Tibbiya College, Saharanpur conducts a diploma course in Unani Medicine.
Mazahir-ul-Uloom, Saharanpur, the famous seminary imparts advanced education in Sunni theology, closely follows Darul Uloom, Deoband school and is at par with it in academic ranking. It is located at Arbi Madarsa.
Several colleges, affiliated to Meerut University, are conducting university level courses in a number of arts and science subjects.
However, in relation to the size, population and economic strength of Saharanpur District and in comparison to the educational facilities in neighbouring districts, the city lacks adequate infrastructure for advanced education and research. It is being felt as an anomaly that needs expeditious rectification by establishing a university in the city, with its own engineering college, covering a wide gamut of courses, and medical colleges for allopathy and ayurveda education. These feelings have heightened further since the loss of academically well endowed Roorkee city, due to its separation from Saharanpur district and merger in the newly formed Uttarakhand state in September 2000.
Saharanpur has been an active political ground. For many decades after independence it was ruled by the Congress Party, but the trend now has changed. Dalits and Backward communities have become very active in politics. The Dalits (ex-untouchables) have a strong presence all across Saharanpur. Kanshiram, the founder of pro-Dalit Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had contested Loksabha election from here. His protege, Ms. Mayawati, the current chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, has a very strong base here. In the past, Dalit communities had to suffer lots of atrocities from dominant communities like Gurjars. But, Dalit assertions are now very visible there. There are a number of Dalit organizations in Saharanpur, mainly the Dynamic Action Group (DAG) etc. Dalits are moving very fast into education and hundreds of schools are run by Dalit youths. This has been confirmed through studies also.the first 8th school was devloped in Ghana Khandi through the afert of Hakim Inamul Haq it was the famous name in the history of saharanpur.
Other attractions are Ambedkar Park, founded by Chief Minister Mayawati, and the sprawling wood carvings market, which starts from near Ambala Road and extends up to Chilkana Road, where wonderful examples of the art of this city are displayed, sold and exported all over the world. Gughal Mela, an enjoyable and historic mela of Saharanpur, is organized every year in the month of September. Also notable are the Jain temple of Parshwanath; the Dhamola and Paon Dhoi rivers, which meet and pass under an old Tees Dara Pul (Bridge); and Lala Das Ka Bada, a very peaceful place - it has beautiful temples and a 'minaar' (tower), from where people can have a bird's eye view of Saharanpur city.
These townships are built in contemporary architectural style. Multistoried commercial complexes are coming up. However, there are no high-rise sky scrapers yet.
However, Saharanpur is well connected to all the major cities by Bus and Train. The city is located on the National Highway NH-73. It is a major junction of Indian Railways; several important trains connecting the farthest ends of India pass through it. The main Railway Station, Saharanpur-Junction, is in the middle of the city and the Tapri Railway Station is on Paper Mill Road. Roadways Bus-stand is located near the Saharanpur Jn Railway Station; buses of UP Govt Roadways and other Govt/Private Sector undertakings are available from here for all nearby towns and major cities like Dehradun, Roorkee, Ambala, Haridwar, Meerut, Moradabad, Lucknow, Agra, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Jaipur at any time. The Saharanpur Airport is at Sarsawa, but it is used by the Indian Air Force.